The sky was partly cloudy yesterday, the temperature in the mid 70s, and there was gentle rain as I rolled into Houston from Austin on a early spring evening around 6 p.m.
It was a perfect storm: between the mild heat, the intense humidity, and the heavy Texas pollen, there was no way that I was going to avoid a major allergy attack.
By the time I managed to find a seat at one of my favorite Houston by-the-glass wine programs (which will remain nameless in order to protect the innocent), tears were literally rolling down both sides of my face and I had already retired one of the cloth handkerchiefs that I carry with me (these days, I make sure to have two on hand at any given moment).
It was nothing that a crisp, cool glass of Roter Veltliner, with a wonderful spearmint note, and a steaming bowl of Nova Scotia mussels couldn’t clear up in a matter of minutes.
An attractive, middle-aged woman joined a party sitting to my left, taking the seat in between me and her friends at the crowded bar.
The fragrance she was wearing was SO aggressive that it dominated even the marine aromas of the mollusks. And my lovely Roter Veltliner, with its gentle herbaceous nose, was sent adrift in a sea of chemically induced “honeysuckle.”
It was as if her fragrance were
shouting SHOUTING at me.
I later discovered, feigning that my wife “might enjoy her perfume,” that the lady in question had just applied — and very generously, I may add — a lotion from Bath and Body Works, not an item “you can find on the shelves,” I was informed, but a special order item for which you must “be in the know.”
I’ve never been one to curb personal freedoms but is intense perfume or fragrance really necessary when you visit a fine dining venue?
The city of Houston still allows outdoor smoking areas in restaurants.
My thought would be to abolish the cigarette ghettos and banish the heavily perfumed to their own section outside.
As the French lover once exclaimed, after being trapped in the perfume cabinet for a week hiding from a jealous husband, de la merde s’il vous plaît!